On Thursday evening, the fourth annual Boston TechJam descends on City Hall Plaza and co-founder Mark Lorion sounds exuberant. With more than 4,000 people registered already, representing more than 700 companies, he says if the weather holds up, he wouldn’t be surprised if total attendance reached 6,000.
“It’s gotten a little busier and a little crazier each year,” says Lorion, who is Apperian’s chief marketing and products officer.
To explain what this year’s tech and innovation festival will be like, Lorion says it will be like a mix between a “Jimmy Buffett concert and an NCAA tournament.” It seems like a strange pairing, but he uses this comparison because the event is about building a sense of camaraderie within the Boston tech community while also having some friendly competition.
“Ultimately people realize they are on the same team — team Boston — and it’s about this Boston company and Boston startup vibe,” Lorion says. “It’s really, really special to experience.”
Unlike previous years, the Boston TechJam’s roughly 100 exhibitors — which range from larger companies like LogMeIn and TripAdvisor to smaller ones like Salsify and Pretty Instant — won’t be organized in a series of tents on parallel “streets” and will instead be grouped by “Innovation Villages” under larger tents to create more of a community atmosphere.
“We think that will create more serendipitous meetings and more of this social progressive party feel,” Lorion says.
Refreshments will include beer served by Harpoon, along with hard cider, slushies, water and other non-alcoholic beverages. Some of what will be served will depend on what the exhibitors bring with them, Lorion notes.
As for the competitive side, Lorion says many exhibitors usually bring their own games with them. In the past, that has included scavenger hunts, skee ball, arcade games, three-legged races and, of course, the startup game of choice, cornhole.
Here are some photos from past Boston TechJam events:
Photos provided by Mark Lorion.